In what was supposed to be a busy three-game week, the women’s basketball team took care of business when Mother Nature finally permitted the players to lace them up, routing Rutgers-Newark University 70-48 and improving to 15-6.
“It was a weird week,” Lions head coach Dawn Henderson said. “With school being closed twice, we only had about three hours of practice this last week, and we started out a little slow on Saturday.”
When school was closed on their second gameday in a row last Wednesday, Feb. 5, the players used their snow day wisely, getting in a couple solid hours of full-court pickup hoops at Packer Hall.
Apart from the team’s usual motto of working to get a little better every day, senior guard Kelly Roddy said the team is also specifically looking to get off to better starts and not dig themselves holes early into these games.
The College trailed Rutgers-Newark 23-15 with less than eight minutes remaining in the first half, but from then on, it was all Lions.
They closed the half with a 21-2 spurt and held the Scarlet Raiders scoreless over the final six minutes and change.
“The first five minutes was like a warm-up,” Roddy said. “When we decided to change up our defense and go man-to-man, our defensive energy started leading our offensive attack, and that’s really why we were able to pull away.”
Roddy tied her career-high with 20 points and added seven rebounds and four assists in just 24 minutes of play.
Senior guard Tiffany DeTulio and senior guard Liz West also turned in stellar performances. DeTulio contributed 16 points, four assists and three rebounds, while West went a perfect 5-5 from the field to go along with five rebounds and two steals.
“Roddy and Tiff were huge — they were scoring in so many different ways, hitting from deep, mid-range and inside. And these are the games I’ve come to expect from Liz,” Henderson said before laughing
and acknowledging that she doesn’t expect West to make every shot from here on out — though Henderson certainly would welcome it.
Among other notable contributors, forward Jessica Goldbach played a solid game, posting seven points and six rebounds, while hosting a block party with her four rejections. Goldbach was forced to miss some time earlier in the season with a concussion, but she has bounced back well.
“Jess was great for us, and she’s worked really hard to get back in the swing of things,” Henderson said.
Having won four games in a row and with less than a handful of games remaining, it appears the Lions might be hitting their stride at the perfect time: heading into the playoffs.
“This is a big week for us,” Roddy said. “If we’re able to get three wins going into our season finale versus Montclair State, we’ll have all the momentum.”
Currently in second place in the NJAC and right behind Montclair State, the College can clinch a top-two seed and a first-round bye in the conference tournament if they manage to knock off Rutgers-Camden University, Rowan University and New Jersey City University this week.
The Lions are back in action in Packer Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 12, at 6 p.m. as they take on Rowan.